Interracial Relationships & Dating

interracialI placed a poll on my page a few days ago to gauge peoples interest. I asked if they would date someone outside their race and the responses were positive. I’ve proposed this question to a lot of my lesbian friends over the years and the answers have always been accompanied by a broad range of opinions. Of all my friends currently tied down in relationships, I can think of very few interracial partnerships within the mix.

I believe that interracial relationships are more common among gays and lesbians than heterosexuals since we’re already breaking barriers and defying norms by dating members of the same-sex. You would think that interracial dating would be almost second nature. That we’d be more open-minded about dating outside of our race because to be gay means to experience and more often than not to embrace differences and welcome diversity.

To be automatically rejected due to preconceived notions about who someone is based on his or her gender identity or the color of their skin is patently wrong. However, we seem to hold that belief system the most firm as it relates to gender identity, yet when it comes to skin color it’s less accepted. I often wonder how pigeonholing someone to fit your idea of whom they should or shouldn’t be, how they should or shouldn’t behave is not okay as long as racial differences aren’t identified as the culprit. They have already decided who that person is long before giving them a fair chance.

There is still a visible divide among lesbians and that probably has more to do with the fact that the most visible lesbians are still those highly representative of the white middle to upper class lesbian. Rarely do we see lesbians of color accurately or well represented within the same scope. I believe this causes ripples and internal feelings of resentment among women of color, plus not having that recognition within our own community is doubly polarizing.

There are more important factors to consider as to why our visibility isn’t as solid as it could be and it has a lot to do with famous black lesbians still hiding in the virtual closet, even when we know they’ve been gay for years. Often, due to personal and internal conflicts it may take years for them to come out publicly, thus indirectly affecting those of us who will never have their presence or impact in society. Perhaps white lesbians don’t struggle with this as much within their own families and communities because their religious influences aren’t as tied into their entire community as it is among black families.

Often, I’ve felt a certain pressure to choose a girlfriend or potential partner from within my own race. These pressures have usually arisen from family and friends to mere associates within the lesbian community who frown upon interracial dating. Many a time I’ve gone to a club or bar with a white lesbian, where there are a majority of black lesbians and the reactions when walking in the door have run the gamut from looks of disgust to uncomfortable stares to outright “there aren’t enough black women to go around” comments. This animosity, masked or otherwise is most often and specifically comes from feminine (outwardly appearing) black lesbians. The bois never seem to have a problem with this and usually give me the heads up greet as I do them when I find the woman on their arm to be aesthetically pleasing to the senses. It could be a demographic thing or it could be something I’m putting too much credence into, but it’s something I’ve wondered about for the longest.

Interracial relationships must confront not only cultural differences, but be recognized as an essential part of understanding and respecting each other’s diversity. I know there are a lot of gay women of varying ethnic backgrounds who have never considered dating a woman of another race because of her own fears which are often coupled with worries of negative reactions from family and friends and the social constructs in play that frown upon anything different or outside the “norm”.

I’m of the opinions that if you’re truly seeking the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with, you shouldn’t sell yourself short; you should expand your horizons and recognize that your options will be far more plentiful when you set aside fears of the unknown and truly began to embrace differences.

We all have our preferences and I for one respect each and every one of our attractions in all their different sizes, shapes, and forms. This mini-rant isn’t directed at you so be easy. It is however directed at those who have never stepped outside of their comfort zone with regard to dating because of pre-conceived prejudices, who oppress themselves and others based on ethnicity, and most certainly to those who judge others who aren’t afraid to be different, unique, and step outside of their [insert color here] box.

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28 Responses to “Interracial Relationships & Dating”
  1. Chanel says:

    The way i see it is i'm black and puerto rican. My girl is black, white, native american and Irsih. How much more interracial can we possibly get? 🙂

    But seriously tho. Ive never had a problem with it at all. I love and thrive in the diversity of everyone. Thats one reason why i love living in the San Francisco bay area. There's so much culture, so many races, and its not a taboo thing here to be in a interracial relationship. Its very much the norm. People really need to take the blinders off and soak in the plethora of possibilities…

  2. Knowledge says:

    Aww, I bet you two are a beautiful couple. And, yes, you're as interracial as h e double hockey sticks. lol. When I visited San Fran I didn't get a chance to really experience the city, ah well, maybe one day. I do however love that you two get to experience something completely different. There are still lots of places in this country that have catching up to do. I'm hopeful.

  3. SteadyCat says:

    I don't have any issues with interracial relationships. I'm hoping for someone who can understand me – because I'm a bit quirky and it requires someone who can love that about me. My main criteria is whether they will love me fully, try their best to understand me and treat me well. I will love her the same way….no matter the color of their skin

    @Knowledge – You're right. Gay/lesbians are in more interracial relationships than the general straight population. It is not uncommon for most of us to personally know of an interracial couple, even if our own isn't.

  4. LaurynX says:

    Saying dating interracial for gay ppl being second nature is like saying being accepting of gays should be second nature to straight black folks…yet we all know that isn't the case. You speak of pressures, and you're probably right. I always attributed it to people being most comfortable around those they share the same ethnic culture with. Culture (not purely race or skin tone) I think plays a big role. I think black women give your relationship shady looks b/c they see it as re-enforcing the dominant narrative they they are the least desirable. Black women's perceived value and esteem has been damaged over centuries (they are perceived as least attractive, least feminine, least competent, etc. etc.). I also read (yesterday actually) that the group of lesbian women least likely to interracially date are white women. There are several reasons as to why that could be.

  5. Alix says:

    Most of my cousins tend to date outside of their race. I can't say that I care who they date because the women of my past look like a UN conference. I can say that it does bother me that they seem to prefer to date outside of their race, like they do it on purpose…

  6. Knowledge says:

    "I think black women give your relationship shady looks b/c they see it as re-enforcing the dominant narrative they they are the least desirable."

    I wonder if they actually believe this or have only convinced themself of this due to societal constraints and reinforcements. I wonder because black women are known to be strong, dominant, the matriarchs and patriarchs in our culture, yet if they see a black man with a white woman or a black woman with a white woman, suddenly they are somehow devaulued and non-desirable. I feel you on that, I really do, I'll just never understand it. Like Alix, the women I've dated in the past could damn well be the UN and black women would definitely be in the majority.

    I wonder if it's also that some black feminine lesbians haven't had to step outside of their comfort zones as much as other black lesbians. Because they are perceived or can pass as straight they rarely have to deal with uncomfortable situations head on because it's rarely directly in their face.

    White lesbians could be the least likely to interracially date, certainly believable considering a lot of attitudes from either side. My greatest resource lie in the fact that a white lesbian, let alone a white woman hasn't given me any dirty looks when my girl and I have been the minority in their environment. Maybe they hide it better? Who knows.

    Thanks for sheding some actual insight into this, Lauryn. As a beautiful black "feminine" woman I thoroughly appreciate your perspective on this

  7. Knowledge says:

    That sounds like a personal preference to me. I could be wrong, but what reason would they have to do it on purpose? To be hurtful, to incite? If they dated only people of their own race, would it bother you as much?

  8. Knowledge says:

    Right on, SteadyCat.

  9. Bee says:

    I don't know if I'd date out of my race. I just love brown skin women. I've been attracted to white men in my day but heh…we never know what could be thrown in my face within the next 10 years

  10. AJtheDJ says:

    As long as you’ve got that mind that I need, and certain things that fall into place with respect to personality, I really don’t care what color you are.

  11. Knowledge says:

    The stereotype for femininity I'd argue is more Asian than white, but I see where you're going. White more than black and black more than hispanic. I understand those complexities.

    I don't want to shake the dominance within me so I can't understand that mentality but I do understand the mindset of those who do now that you've reinforced that notion. I don't believe they like anyone should be immune to self esteem and insecurity… it's much simplier than that. I believe they should be more tolerant of something that is not a slight against them in the least. Nothing more, nothing less. But let's be honest, tolerance is something black people on the whole struggle with within our own culture because of hundreds of years of generational, cultural degredation, and we still deal with the remifications.

    But Lauryn, here's the thing, I HAVE to bring sexuality into it because that's my experience and the basis of this word play. That's all I have to work with as it relates to this particular subject matter. And it's not necessarily bad situations in the streets I refer to, it's more so uncomfortable situations because of a specific thing: visibility. If no one knows you're gay, how could you possibly deal with the same uncomfortable situations as someone who is obviously gay and deals with them on top of everything else all the time? My aim is not to compare and contrast because I can't know someone else's struggle, but I do know what I subject myself and others to and I believe we can recognize and do what's necessary to change those behaviors but only if we want to.

  12. LaurynX says:

    “black women are known to be strong, dominant, the matriarchs and patriarchs in our culture, yet if they see a black man with a white woman or a black woman with a white woman, suddenly they are somehow devalued and non-desirable”

    For many people the fact that black women are (mythologized?) to be strong, matriarchal, emasculating(?) even is the exact reason they are also seen as undesirable. Because the stereotype for femininity is soft, demure, and many times white. Let us be real here.

    I think black people as a whole many times have trouble shaking the dominant (racist) narratives of themselves. I don’t think it’s a matter of them having convinced themselves they are less than. I think it’s a matter of them having NOT convinced themselves of otherwise, if you get what I’m saying. The archetype if the “strong black woman” is a manifestation of reactions to racism…. That despite their disadvantages they/we can press on in life. This “strong (emasculating?) black woman” archetype is more cultural idealistic myth(?) than reality. Black women are no more superhuman than any other human. This idea that they are (or should be) immune to low self esteem (b/c of this “S.B.W.” thing) doesn’t make sense.

    I can’t speak for other feminine black lesbians but the idea that they don’t deal w/ uncomfortable situations in public…hardly. (I’ll take sexual harassment for $1000 Alex) They deal w/ shit for being black women and perceived as less than. You don’t even have to bring being gay into the equation for that. I don’t see the correlation between bad situations in the streets and dating preferences. (And no I’m not minimizing the shit that masculine women get in the streets.)

  13. AJtheDJ says:

    I also forgot to mention that you can't be too pale..

  14. Kadawa says:

    Just finished reading all the comments.. very interesting.. i know its a terrible thing to do but i must say i sit on the fence with this one. I have a preference for my own race, but i think more specifically i would actually say i have a preference for my own ethnicity – ie. African. And here i would agree completely with Lauryn's point about culture, for me that is the number one thing. You have to get my cultural nuances. I dont know if i want to explain everything all the time! lol!

    But. Having said that. I have mixed race friends and relatives, having been raised in very international communities with various ethnicities. And I c both the positive aspects, blendingof cultures and acceptance as well as the negatives (i have had two male cousins get into fights living in all white neighborhoods cus they are still considered black, one biracial gf wants nothin to do with her black mother or her roots because she think it will set her back..). And i think that race and relationships is a bed of nails on its own without throwing homosexuality into it. So i dont think it should somehow be any different really.

    I was listening to a podcast the other day.. (lesbian mafia) and she was going on about how its assumed that because you are gay you should not have any intolerances, prejudices or biases. I think that is incredibly simplistic and riduculous. As human beings we all have our own demons..

    Being gay doesn't make you a saint.

    My ex-gf was completely intolerant of "studs".. which i found kinda cute considering she was so tomboyish herself..

    Anyways.. that is my two cents worth…

    hoping inbetween my rambling i made some points..

    🙂

  15. Knowledge says:

    I really appreciate your take on this. And the rambling is welcome, I'm long-winded myself so feel free to get it all out on any given topic.

    I especially like how you ended with the story about your ex-gf, which pretty much sums up my thoughts on the whole. The all encompassing power in intolerance is that it's non-discriminatory and can afflict members of any race. Being involved in an interracial relationship can be a challenge in itself, granted, but I don't know any other way to deal with the "internal demons" of insecurity or cultural backlash that results just because I'm doing something someone is uncomfortable with, except to address it head on.

    If we know it's hurtful to be judged based on a characteristic we want to be considered irrelevant in terms of differences in treatment, then it makes sense that we try to avoid judging others similarly. Perhaps I'm being extremely simplistic here, I will concede to that, but once stereotypes and prejudgements are discarded, all they have left are excuses anyway.

  16. LaurynX says:

    I agree that the Asians are stereotyped as being demure and feminine, but I was more speaking towards the Western Ideal, which is white. I guess I should have clarified.

    "I believe they should be more tolerant of something that is not a slight against them in the least. Nothing more, nothing less."
    ————————
    If only the human psyche were that simple. We would DEF have a lot less problems. lol
    ————————
    I see your point on bringing sexuality and your perspective and not playing the "oppression olympics" in terms of feminine vs masculine experiences. Though I'm still not sure I see correlation between negative experiences and racial dating patterns.

  17. Knowledge says:

    No clarification needed there. I firmly believe the Western feminine ideal to be the Asian woman. White women are so connected with feminism in the western world that they gave up being that ideal long ago. It's way more about body type/image than actual femininity anyway, and in my humble opinion, one doesn't have a darn thing to do with the other.

    Negative experiences and racial dating patterns. Yeah, I can see why you don't see a correlation. Neither do I, lol, which is probably a result of me getting caught up in my earlier replies. Sorry about the confusion with that.

    I wanted to highlight "uncomfortable situations" instead of negative experiences because I feel that people need to sometimes put themselves into uncomfortable situations where they stand to benefit positively.

    Viewing interracial relationships in a negative light because of ones own internal, deep seated, baggage is something that can be changed. These behaviors and attitudes aren't set in stone, but experience and time can teach better.

    As far as racial dating preferences, in all honestly, to each her very own.

  18. Knowledge says:

    Alright now, lol!

  19. TheGoldenGoddeess says:

    I love this topic and enjoyed reading everyone's take on the subject.

    As for me, I am open to dating the globe in all of its nuances of color, texture, tones, cultural differences, religions and anything else that denotes them as unique. Excuse me. Move over. If this table represents the vast array of female beauty and ways of being en el mundo, this is my seat.

    True. Verdad. How can one not love the skin tones that flourish in one's immediate family and circle of friends, but why should that stop me from high-heeling it on across the ballroom to meet and greet someone whose deep amber skin tone beckons me, someone whose tongue clicks with another beat I've not heard on my street, but whose spirit shines on mine? I DARE not allow racial divides to stop me from embracing the spectrum of differences that the beauty of women paints for me.

    So, yes, I'd date outside of my race, although I have not yet been presented with very many opportunities to do so. Huh uh, I've met a few Indians and Latinas on the web, on various social networking sites, but they are frequently located across the country. They check in every now and again to coo and chat and regal and exchange serious thoughts from time to time. I am opening myself to meeting the rainbow where I am, right here in the ATL, and perhaps learn to speak another tongue under her tutelage.

    Oh, I dated a Hawaiian stud once. She was a joy, who posted dream catchers over her bed and taught her cat to understand a few of her native phrases. And, hmmmm, I recently enjoyed a meet and greet with a Chinese dancer from Cally. Estaba muy interesante, es cierto!

    Well, I'm off to the races to net sunshine as I exercise on Stone Mountain!

    Besos y bendiciones,

  20. Ang says:

    My experience with this, as a white butch, dating a black/puerto rican for two years, the biggest issue we had was the attitude problems I experienced from other butch/studs in the community. The fact we were both Army enlistees and that our command wasn't too keen on the interracial lesbian thing either, stood as another obstacle in our paths. We have remained friends for 25 years now and she taught me a helluva lot in those 2 years about life, love and what it really meant to experience discrimination like we did. It always bothered me that even our own community frowned on us back then, hopefully today we have progressed beyond what Maria and I had to endure.

  21. Alterity says:

    Interracial Relationships are enticing – probably because they lead to more diversity in the gene pool. And that can’t be a bad thing can it?
    .-= Alterity´s last blog ..On John The Baptist Brown =-.

  22. Justa Notha says:

    I know I'm discovering this late, but better late then never. As a white femme who mainly dates black women I definitely feel the hate when we go out. Glares, nasty comments, studs bumping us…

    Or if I'm out by myself I'll be on the dance floor dancing with a stud and she'll suddenly start fronting like she doesn't know me when a black femme walks by. Stuff like that.

    But the hardest thing about dating outside your race comes when prejudices come out of the mouth of the one you love. My last girlfriend used to say things to me like: "stop acting so Jewish." And while I was trying to stay friends with another ex she made sure that I knew that she was now going after "her own kind" now.

    I can't say that I date outside my race because I'm open-minded. I've often met kind, nice, together women with a similar cultural background to me and found myself cursing my total lack of attraction to them. Somehow I just seem to be hard-wired to find brown skin and African features, and–to be honest, many aspects of black culture–attractive. I keep trying because what else can I do?

    I've also noticed that there are some black women who seem to be mainly attracted to white women in the same way.

    So far I have been blessed to at least find some black lesbian friends who accept me for who I am:-)

  23. date black women says:

    This article is good but I disagree with some certain points in it. Oh well, I am not a complete expert on the matter. Thanks for the article anyways.

  24. Cho2luv says:

    I don't know why this is such a huge issue, in todays society. And honestly I think it's only a huge issue if you already have issue's with your self and your own self confidence, which at the end of the day falls on you. I think it's more about how you present yourself and then of course people have their own personal preferences (style, features,height,hair w/e.) Personally I've always been attracted to contrasts in appearance, and I'm not going to apologize about who I can't help but like. My girlfriend is a blonde haired, blue- eyed white girl and I couldn't be happier, and to think "blondes" were never my type before. haha I've always been attracted to certain features and white women just seem to fit this category. Oh well, i've never had a problem with it. And I am a feminine woman dating more of a tomboy/stem. Bottom line date, and pursue who makes your heart race and stomach flip.

  25. fun casino company says:

    I don't know wha tthe big deal is about interracial relationships. We're in America and everyone's all mixed together yet somehow people ooohh and aaahh over me going home with a black guy.

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